Lorelei and the Laser Eyes – Review


The plot of Lorelei and the Laser Eyes is dull compared to other puzzle games. You are a bespectacled woman holding a clutch bag and with incredible confidence enters a mansion without understanding why she is there or what she is doing. The lack of context doesn’t matter though, because the game immediately puts you in a great mood. You may not know why you are petting the dog in the yard, checking every door, or reading every scrap of paper you come across at the beginning, but you want to be there and see everything the game has to offer. And if you are like me, that changes from to want down need who keeps you up tardy by pointing your phone’s flashlight at a piece of paper already filled with notes incomprehensible to any outside observer.

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TTo talk too much about the game’s plot would give away its intentions, but know that while the story initially seems amorphous, it all leads somewhere, I promise. Disparate newspaper articles, books on lunar cycles, written monologues on the nature and purpose of art, and incomplete movie scripts all paint a picture of the emotions of what happened in this hotel/mansion, but its final moments surprised me with how sharply they brought everything into focus. What starts out as effective but seemingly abstract tone-setting poems all make sense in the final moments, and I was impressed by the satisfying, slow-paced action of the narrative.

The puzzles in the game are the stars of the show, and Lorelei is full of them. The ultimate goal is to explore the house and open every door, find every document, and unlock every lock. Sometimes this requires reading to find the year that can be used to open a four-digit padlock. Sometimes it requires entering a 32-bit horror video game and causing it to crash so that you can note down the error message documentation.

Like any good puzzle game, the puzzles build on a basic idea but are expanded exponentially to lead you to solutions you never considered. In Lorelei’s case, it’s mostly basic math. You’ll need a calculator (and one is provided in the game), but you won’t be doing much more than adding, subtracting, and taking copious notes. The puzzles consistently made me feel astute, but never lost my mind in a way I admired. I certainly got stuck—a few times, really stuck—but when I finally got to the solution, I never felt cheated by the puzzle itself.

I felt cheated at times when I would occasionally hit literal walls where I had parts one and three of the puzzle but simply couldn’t find two. At least 3 hours of my roughly 20-hour playtime was spent aimlessly wandering the hallways looking for anything that would lend a hand me take the next step, only to discover that I had missed the hint on a sconce that opened a secret passage. At that point, I felt less like I couldn’t figure out a secret lock and more like I couldn’t see the lock at all. At times like these, I was frustrated with Lorelei and the Laser Eyes, but in its favor, I was so immediately drawn into the game that I knew I wanted to finish it from the very beginning.

I don’t know if you can consider yourself a successful puzzle game without at least a few seemingly insurmountable, confusing barriers. After all, overcoming those obstacles is what makes the genre so engaging, and Lorelei and the Laser Eyes finds a successful balance by making you feel astute more often than stupid. Add to that a mystery worth solving, fourth-wall-breaking commentary, and unexpected reality-altering moments that send you to strange places, and you have a fantastic puzzle game that I’m already dying to play again for the first time.

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